I arrived in Detroit this afternoon in the middle of a multi-city mileage run to Monterrey, Mexico. I was flying on Delta and invoked their Same Day Confirmed policy so I could spend a night in Detroit.
While on my flight earlier this morning, I planned to explore Detroit and visit Windsor, ON in Canada which is only 5 minutes away from downtown Detroit. I was stoked since I have never stepped foot outside DTW airport and have never been to Canada. There’s always a first time for everything.
I rented a car for 2,600 AA miles on Dollar and drove downtown to have lunch at Redsmoke BBQ in Greektown.
Nothing was happening in Greektown on a Monday afternoon, so I headed towards the Canadian Border to visit Caesar’s Casino in Windsor, Ontario.
I took the Detroit-Windsor tunnel and paid the $4.50 toll which can be paid by credit card. After a few minutes, I was on Canadian soil. The border wait wasn’t too bad and it almost felt like lining up for gas at Costco.
I rolled up with my rental car to the Canadian customs booth and handed over my US Passport Card. The agent straight off bat told me “You just violated a stop sign. You can’t pull up here like a drive through window.” I quickly apologized (I wasn’t fully paying attention, which was my fault)
The agent asked me “What was the purpose of the trip?” I responded that I just wanted to visit the Caesar’s Casino in Windsor. Then, she asked me “Where are you from?” and “What are you doing in Detroit?” I told her that I was on a multi-city trip with a stop in Detroit and continuing onto Mexico tomorrow. Apparently, my answer raised concerns and she placed a yellow form on my dashboard. The agent then told me to proceed to secondary screening and wait under the canopy.
With full of anxiety, I parked in the first empty spot and the customs officer read the notes from the previous agent. The officer said that I ran a stop sign and asked me if I was handicap? I said I apologized and didn’t see the stop sign and no, I am not handicapped. Then, he said “Well, you’re parked in a handicap spot” I apologized and said I didn’t see that and he told me, “Please pull over to the other side so I can deal with you.”
At this point, my anxiety level raised through the roof and I was kind of shaking. I couldn’t believe that I committed two traffic violations within a 10 minute span in Canadian soil. I was worried that I was going to get fined and arrested. The officer told me to shut the ignition, get out of the car, and leave all my personal belongings in the car. He proceeded to ask me questions like “What are you doing in Canada, Detroit, and Mexico?” I explained to the officer that I was on a multi-city mileage run on Delta, earning ~8,000 miles on a cheap $189 fare. He then proceeded to fully search my rental car and told me to proceed to Customs and Immigration office.
I went into the office, and another customs officer asked me the same questions. He believed me and told me to have fun at the casino. With a total sigh of relief, I was off scot-free and headed to the Caesar’s Casino in Windsor.
Coming back to the US was a breeze as the US Customs officer asked me “What were you doing in Canada?” I just said I was at Caesar’s Casino in Windsor and he waived me through.
I learned a huge lesson today. I need to be fully aware of my surroundings and pay attention when crossing the border, even if it’s our friendly Canadian neighbors.